I want to start by thanking all of you. I've been reading here for the last few months, but now that the swimming season is approaching I've been trying to apply things. Most of my questions have to do with my specific setup.
We've lived here since about June and since this is our first pool we paid a pool guy at the start, but after seeing him overcharge for a few minor repairs and charge about $25/week for a few tricolor tabs and skimming I started doing it all myself.
I called the PB and the pool was built in 2006 and is 9,021 gallons. It's pebbletec with an in-floor cleaning system and a 1HP Hayward SP4000Z5 pump (btw, just replaced the basket). It was originally a salt pool, but the company that made the salt system went out of business a while ago, cells are no longer available, and the control box has been unwired and PVC has been added where the cell used to be. I'd really like to change this back to salt and the price of the Jandy Aquapure EI APURE35PLG really catches my attention. I don't know why it's less expensive than the hard-wired model. One challenge with that, though, is the requirement for a 2.5' horizontal pipe. I've only got a 23" pipe so some plumbing would be needed.
That leads to the second observation (and actual questions will come soon). The pool guy I had never looked at the filters, but told me it probably didn't need to be looked at until about now. I trusted that advice and opened up my cartridge system a couple days ago. Unfortunately I didn't measure them, but there were 8 of them and they were filthy. I hosed them off for about an hour and put the system back together. I did notice that I probably need new filters since most of them had broken bands and the ones on the bottom seem to have been warped/folded/crushed due to previous weight. Although I didn't measure, and after quickly looking online and at the hardware store it looks like these filters cost about $50 each, so about $200 to replace. Also, when I cleaned my filters, I got the fiberglass itch on my arms and I'd really like to not have that happen again. And now the cleaning of the filters and a better working system is causing other problems to show up. There seems to be a small crack in the pump basket cover so water sprays from the plastic when it also leaks from the cover when it's shut off. I found another post saying it's normal for that pump to leak from the cover right when it's shut off so I'm not as concerned about that as the crack in the plastic. I'll be calling local parts stores in the morning for that. Neither of these happened before the cleaning of the filters, but I also cleaned the pump basket around the same time. When I did, I noticed that the pump basket was cracked down one side so I replaced that today.
Both of these observations (Jandy and cost of filters) have caused me to look at replacing the cartridge filter system with a sand filter. I could re-plumb it for the new filter and get the 2.5 ft I need for the Jandy. My big question here is that most sand filters I'm finding have 1.5" valves and I have a 2" system. Here come the questions.
Could I use reducers, or do I need a 2" valve?
Hayward S244T Pro Series Top-Mount 24-Inch Sand Filter with 1-1/2-Inch Vari-Flo Valve for In-Ground Pools can be found for $282.99, but it seems to be a "too good to be true" price. Would this filter be big enough for my pool? Would it work with the in-floor cleaning system? Of course, the valve might not work depending on the answer above. From what I've read, a sand filter with some DE sounds like a breeze compared to washing all 8 of these, especially for a price not much more than replacing the filters.
Is the Jandy Aquapure EI APURE35PLG a good investment? I wouldn't mind hard-wiring the other model, but don't see why I'd want to pay $200 more for the pleasure, especially when I have a GFCI outlet at the breaker box by the pool equipment.
One last question. It looks like lots of people from AZ come here or other sites and say that their pool person said their pool needs a complete drain every few years. My former pool guy said it's from the CYA. According to test strips (I know I need to buy a nice test kit), it looks like I'm at about 100 for that so I'm thinking that draining half and refilling would be better than completely draining. Of course, I'd test with a better kit first, but I was wondering what you thought here too.
Thanks a lot!